Friday, September 25, 2020

Dairy Foods Innovating: Help Consumers Double Down on Healthful Eating


Hope you are enjoying these first days of autumn, or if you are Down Under, Happy Spring! These are crazy times…but remember we are all better together!

C+R Research recently surveyed 2,040 consumers and asked them how COVID-19 has affected their food budget, shopping habits and diets. Here’s what they found:

  • 85% of American consumers report paying more for groceries during COVID-19 with an average weekly spend of $139.
  • Meat, eggs and milk were among the top-three items that Americans say they’ve been paying more for during COVID-19. 
  • 65% have cut back on their weekly food budget during the pandemic. 
  • 65% have changed their diet during the pandemic with 71% reporting “stress eating” more. 
  • 65% of respondents say they would spend the majority of a second stimulus check on groceries and food. 
Link HERE to explore the survey.

Interestingly, according to the survey, 48% of respondents say they are paying more for milk and 29% for cheese, yet changes in price indexes since February 2020 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis don’t jive with what consumers think. Their purported price increases in dairy are unsubstantiated. 

What does that mean? Dairy foods marketers have to work harder on emphasizing the value of their products. 

Let’s discuss that 7 out of 10 consumers who say they’ve been stress eating since the pandemic. There’s been a lot of talk about the “Quarantine 15” pounds of weight gain. It’s no wonder, as many Americans have chosen to eat like kids again, according to new research. No matter gender, age or location, feel-good, nostalgic food has made perhaps the biggest comeback of all time in 2020. 

This new national survey of 2,000 adults, conducted in July 2020 by OnePoll for Farm Rich, found that two in three Americans are reverting to childhood food favorites and eating more comfort food during the pandemic. That includes an uptick in favorites like pizza (55%), hamburgers (48%), ice cream (46%), French fries (45%), mac and cheese (38%), spaghetti and meatballs (32%) and others.

For the full survey results, check out this one-minute VIDEO

Here are some quick bites from the survey:

  • 69% say they will continue to enjoy the same amount of comfort food that they are now, post-pandemic.
  • 41% reach for comfort food to bring happiness.
  • 85% have gained a few pounds staying at home: an extra six pounds on average.
  • 90% say their online and social searches for food inspiration have increased during the pandemic.
  • The comfort food meal everyone is most looking forward to enjoying at a restaurant post-pandemic is steak.

“When things are uneasy, it’s the little joys that get us through, whether that’s FaceTiming with family and friends or stronger bonds made over homecooked meals,” says Ciera Womack, senior marketing manager at Farm Rich. “And as these responses show, sometimes it’s seeking comfort in certain foods to provide us more relief.”

The survey showed that roughly 30 more minutes are spent each day cooking in the kitchen compared to the same time last year. And, it is Millennials who are spending most on comfort food items from the store.

“Food is a common denominator in what gives us comfort during these stressful times,” says Womack. “This survey throws a spotlight on the changing American table in 2020, and how these types of foods are having a positive impact on our lives right now.” 

Comfort foods also tend to be convenient, make that “modern convenient,” a new term from the Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash., described in the “COVID-19 and New Modern Convenience,” white paper. Indeed, the call for convenience has never been louder. Many home cooks are tiring, and while they may be increasingly price conscious, many are willing to spend a little more on foods they deem as convenient.

Traditional notions of convenience, defined in terms of easy, quick and accessible, were about helping the consumer by taking away the thought, time and physical energy needed to procure and prepare food. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing consumers to reevaluate existing concerns and new trade-offs, which has implications for convenience. (See infographic below.)

“The pandemic is causing elements of ‘modern’ convenience to take on new meaning and relevance in line with shifting needs,” says Laurie Demeritt, Hartman Group’s CEO. “New definitions and nuances of ‘empowering’ convenience prioritize consumers’ role in caring for self and others, while ‘engaging’ convenience emphasizes purpose-driven purchases. ‘Flexible’ convenience in a pandemic context allows consumers to create adaptable pantries and versatile food solutions.”

Food innovation intelligence platform Spoonshot teamed up with Liz Moskow, international food trendologist and principal at Bread & Circus Ltd., to predict and interpret the food trends that will impact menus, product development and consumer behavior into 2021. Moskow leverages Spoonshot’s massive data pool that processes millions of inputs every day to predict trends before they happen. 

“Both slight and dramatic changes in society, technology, the environment, the economy and in the political landscape shape trends in consumer behavior,” says Moskow. “Typically, these factors shift steadily over the course of several years manifesting changes in how people purchase and consume food and beverage products. When COVID-19 hit, it caused and continues to drive dramatic changes in the way people view, engage with and purchase food and beverage. The entire trajectory of consumer behavior changed almost overnight.”

Her number-one food trend prediction is the continued vilification of sugar.

“Both changes in FDA labeling requirements and food technology advancements are paving a path for new approaches to sweetening,” says Moskow. “The pandemic completely knocked us off track in terms of healthy eating and living in its initial months. Inconsistent routines, lower activity levels and stress saw consumers gravitate to comfort food and reap the consequences of this shift in behavior.
“Now, however, most of them are re-prioritizing improving their diets, which will include cutting down on sugar,” she says. “This will also drive the demand for sugar substitutes and new technologies in the sugar reduction space.”

Hartman Group Senior Vice President Shelley Balanko says that that while obesity was temporarily shifted toward the back row of the past six month’s headlines, it has not gone away as a human health issue.

“Certainly, COVID-19 hasn’t helped our collectively bulging waistlines, and many sources credit the stress and anxiety of our current epoch as driving heightened consumption of iconic comfort foods, many of which feature increased levels of sugar, salt, fat and preservatives,” says Balanko. “While changes in eating habits are among the culprits behind the Quarantine 15, consumers haven’t given up completely on how they manage their health and wellness by regulating their eating behavior.”

She explains that consumers manage their health and wellness through three different approaches to eating. They are:

  • Regulate and rationalize: This is where a lot of health and wellness perimeter food eating comes in. In this approach, consumers focus on healthy eating and following specific diets.
  • Intuit and interpret: This still has quite a bit of fresh perimeter food but there’s also more processed food in this mindset. In this approach consumers choose what to eat based on how it makes them feel.
  • Retreat and regroup: This is the stage in which consumers decide to take a break from health and wellness eating, and avoid the typical rules they set around eating and snacking habits. (This is what many have been doing the past six months.)
“Not considering COVID, consumers typically kind of toggle between these three approaches all the time,” says Balanko. “Early in COVID, we saw a lot of retreat and regroup and now we’re starting to see consumers go back to regulate and rationalize. They’re going to be doubling down on healthy eating now because the pandemic has shown a spotlight on the tenuous nature of our own personal health, as well as public health.”

Balanko says that consumers are going back to their commonsense and typical food philosophies, which for the last decade have been prioritizing fresh, real, less-processed perimeter foods. This includes dairy foods. 

Her long-term prediction is that consumers are really going to be searching out snack foods that have higher nutrient density, a trend that was in motion prior to the pandemic but has been accelerated due to COVID-19.

Need technical guidance on frozen dessert innovation? Register for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s annual Frozen Dessert Center Technical Conference. Presentations will be available online and on-demand from October 19 to 28 with a live Q&A session on October 28.
For more information, link HERE.

Friday, September 18, 2020

got keto?


This week General Mills officially launched :ratio, a keto-friendly product line that marks the company’s first keto-focused concept. Loyal Daily Dose of Dairy subscribers were introduced to this product back on August 24. The new line consists of yogurt cultured dairy snacks and crunchy bars. The products are designed to appeal to the growing number of consumers who are looking for ways to cut back on sugar and carbohydrates through better-for-you alternatives to existing preferences.

There’s no arguing, the pandemic changed the way consumers shop, cook and eat. Clean ingredients are the new baseline and individualized eating approaches are the new standard for today’s shoppers, according to the 2020 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, a report produced by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Washington, D.C., in collaboration with The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash. Shoppers are reevaluating their purchase criteria and product assortment needs. They have a sharper focus on health, a heightened awareness of the environmental consequences of consumption and a desire for a deeper connection to food, according to the study.  

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) recently published its 2020 Food & Health Survey, which was conducted between April 8 and April 16, about one month into the COVID-19 mayhem. The survey showed that 85% of Americans have made at least some change in the foods they eat or how they prepare food. 

Interestingly, the number of people actively following a diet is up significantly in comparison to 2019: 43% in 2020 versus 8% in 2019 and 36% in 2018. (I think this is because diet is one of the few things we can control during these uncertain times.) Many of these diets are teaching consumers that not all proteins, fats and carbohydrates are alike. They are becoming more mindful of the composition of foods. 

The IFIC survey showed intermittent fasting (10%) is the most popular diet regime, followed by clean eating (9%), ketogenic or high-fat (8%), and low-carb (7%). The top motivators for new diets are losing weight (47%), feeling better and having more energy (40%), improving physical appearance (39%), protecting long-term health and preventing future health concerns (37%) and preventing weight gain (36%). (I doubt anyone realized it is also to feel in control. After all, the desire for control is a cause of many eating disorders.)

The keto diet is approximately 70% fat, 20% protein, and 5% each simple carbohydrates and non-starchy vegetables. It is a weight-loss regime rather than a long-term lifestyle eating approach, as it does not provide the body with adequate, balanced nutrition. However, foods labeled keto friendly also appeal to consumers who are limiting sugar and carbohydrate intake, as General Mills points out in :ratio.    

The keto weight-loss regime is all about eating a lot of fat and very few carbohydrates. This forces the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis, which is when the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. The liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, with the latter traveling to the brain and fueling the body, the traditional role of glucose obtained from carbohydrates. Burning ketones in place of glucose is associated with weight loss, reduced inflammation, sustained energy and more. 

All of this focus on keto diets and lifestyles is fueling innovation in the ketogenic products category, which is predicted to grow 5.5% through 2027, according to The Insight Partners, New York. There has never been a better time to either start up a keto food brand or for existing brands to expand their product offerings to include healthy, low-carb food alternatives.

The latter is where General Mills fits in with :ratio yogurt cultured dairy snacks. Using carefully selected ingredients, a 150-gram cup contains 200 calories, 15 grams of both fat and protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates and only 1 gram of inherent sugar. The primary components of the dairy snacks are ultra-filtered nonfat milk, milk, milk fat and avocado oil. The addition of non-dairy fat prevents the product from being called yogurt, per the U.S. standard of identify for yogurt. The product, however, is cultured with yogurt cultures (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus). Thus, the product is described as “flavored yogurt cultured dairy snack.” The product comes in five flavors--Black Cherry, Coconut, Mango, Strawberry and Vanilla—and is colored and flavored with natural ingredients. It is sweetened, however, with the high-intensity artificial sweetener sucralose.

“In launching :ratio’s keto-friendly products, we want to ensure that convenient, delicious snack options are available for various lifestyles and dietary choices,” says Tsubasa Tanaka, director of marketing at General Mills. “No matter what individual goals are, we hope :ratio’s crunchy bars and dairy snacks can be an enjoyable snack swap that people look forward to and feel good about reaching for while working towards their goals.”

The Hain Celestial Group wants in on the keto trend. The company now offers The Greek Gods Less Sugar Greek-style yogurt. Each 4.5-ounce cup contains 140 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 to 7 grams of sugar (2 grams are “added sugars”) and 6 grams of protein. The yogurt contains seven different live and active cultures, including probiotics. Formulations include milk protein isolate for extra protein. Lactase enzyme renders the product lactose free and also assists with sweetness. A touch of cane sugar rounds it out. The yogurt comes in Black Cherry, Blueberry, Peach, Strawberry and Vanilla varieties.

Peak was the forerunner in the keto yogurt category. Introduced in 2017, Peak Yogurt is described as a triple cream yogurt, as it contains 17% milkfat. The cream-on-top yogurt is rich, creamy and satiating, so it doesn’t require sugar or other additives to satisfy and fuel the mind and body, according to the company. The company sources organic milk and cream from three family-owned organic dairies in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The cows spend more than 150 days per year grazing on fresh pasture grasses. A 5-ounce cup of the Plain unsweetened variety contains 270 calories, 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and a mere 4 grams of total carbohydrates (solely from inherent lactose).

The two flavored options are Strawberry and Vanilla. They are low-carb and “keto-ish” with 260 or 270 calories, 21 to 22 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 10 to 11 grams of sugar. The latter comes from the inherent lactose as well some added cane sugar.

About a year ago, Beyond Better Foods introduced the Enlightened Keto Collection of ice cream pints and bars. The no-added-sugar pint flavors are: Butter Pecan, Chocolate Glazed Donut, Coffee and Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate Chunk, Peanut Butter Fudge and Red Velvet. The no-sugar-added novelty bar flavors are: Dark Chocolate, Marshmallow Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. One serving of any variety contains less than 1 gram of sugar and 1 gram of total net carbs. To achieve this, the products are sweetened with monk fruit and erythritol, like the brand’s original lineup, and rely on soluble corn fiber, which delivers 2 grams of fiber per half-cup serving. A half-cup serving of the pints contains 170 to 200 calories, 16 to 18 grams of fat and 2 to 4 grams of protein, depending on flavor. To achieve the higher fat levels, the formulation relies on cream and egg yolks.

The company recently added two limited-edition seasonal flavors as part of its Keto Fall Collection. In collaboration with Delish, the company now offers Peppermint Brownie (red and green peppermint ice cream with gluten-free brownie dough and chocolate chips) and Pumpkin Cheesecake (pumpkin cheesecake ice cream with a cream cheese swirl). 

In early 2019, Killer Creamery introduced Keto Ice Cream pints. Starting with a base of cream and egg yolks, medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is added to increase the fat content to 14 to 15 grams per half-cup serving, depending on variety. The company recently reformulated the product, touting its “New Killer recipe. Now creamier than ever.” Milk protein isolate boosts protein content to 3 to 4 grams of protein per serving. There’s no added sugar. Allulose, erythritol and stevia, along with some soluble corn fiber, keeps sugar content at 0 grams, with 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. The product made its debut last year in six varieties--Brownie Points, Caramel Back, Chilla in Vanilla, Jam Session (raspberries and dark chocolate chips), No Judge Mint and Peanut Blubber—and two more were added this year. They are: Got Buns (cinnamon bun) and Main Squeeze (lemon poppyseed). 

Mammoth Creameries also rolled out Keto Frozen Custard last year. The super-high-fat product made its debut in Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Bean varieties. Chocolate and Lemon Buttercream joined the lineup soon after. The primary ingredients are heavy cream, grass-fed butter, egg yolks and xylitol. A half-cup serving contains 25 to 26 grams fat, 1 to 2 grams total sugar, 5 to 6 grams sugar alcohol and 2 to 3 grams of protein, depending on flavor. The product makes rBST-free, cage-free, grass-fed, no-added-sugar and no-gum claims.

The Keto Pint line made its debut at the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show in the Incubator Village. The line rolled out in five flavors--Butter Coffee, Chocolate, Mint Chip, Peanut Butter Cup and Sea Salt Caramel—with a half-cup serving containing 140 to 160 calories, 12 to 14 grams of fat, 2 to 4 grams of fiber, 3 to 5 grams of protein and no added sugars. This composition is possible through the use of organic cream and whole milk, milk protein concentrate, whole egg, erythritol, chicory root fiber, monk fruit extract, stevia extract and tapioca fiber. The company recently added three varieties of frozen novelty bars. They are chocolate-covered Caramel, Mint Chip and Peanut Butter Cup.

Earlier this year, SlimFast, the 40-plus years old weight loss brand, added 21 new products to its SlimFast Keto lineup, including dairy-based ready-to-drink meal replacement shakes, as well as meal replacement bars, snacks and shake mixes. The Meal Shakes To-Go shelf-stable beverage line comes in three flavors: Creamy Milk Chocolate, Creamy Mocha Latte and Vanilla Cream. Each 11-ounce bottle contains 180 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and less than 1 gram of total sugars, with no added sugars. The beverages are sweetened with sucralose. The beverages are also fortified with 24 vitamins and minerals, truly making them a meal replacement. The protein comes from milk protein concentrate while all of the fat comes from MCT oil.

The SlimFast Keto line was one of the 2019 New Product Pacesetters, as identified by IRI in June 2020. The brand had $76.2 million in sales its first year in the market. 

Kaffi Icelandic Protein Coffee is a new range of refrigerated coffee milks from Smari Inc. The lineup includes Keto Latte, which has 60% of calories coming from fat, 35% from protein and 5% from net carbs. The 8-ounce bottle contains 110 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar and 10 grams of protein. The perishable beverage provides as much caffeine as almost 2 cups of coffee (150 milligrams). It is made with coffee, cream, milk protein concentrate, monk fruit extract and organic caffeine.

Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bolthouse Farms now offers ready-to-drink perishable Bolthouse Farms Protein Keto in Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Coffee and Matcha varieties. The addition of milk protein isolate allows each 15.2-ounce bottle to provide 15 grams of dairy protein. The entire bottle contains 280 calories, 22 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram sugar.  

The keto diet encourages eating products derived from grass-fed animals, with a core staple for many keto enthusiasts being grass-fed butter and grass-fed ghee. That’s because the fatty acid profile of grass-fed dairy is said to better assist with weight loss. 
That’s what led to the trend in grass-fed butter coffee, which Bulletproof is the leader. The line debuted in 2017 and includes a collagen-enhanced cold brew. Like the regular Mocha, Original and Vanilla varieties, the collagen variety is made with grass-fed butter and brain octane oil (a proprietary MCT oil). It also includes 15 milligrams of collagen. 

Omega Natural Cacao Flavored Power Creamer is made with grass-fed ghee, coconut oil and MCT oil. It is free from lactose, casein, soy, gluten, carbohydrates and sweeteners. In general, all unsweetened dairy creamer is keto friendly. In fact, many keto dieters will drink a glass of creamer much like one has a glass of milk. 

At the end of 2019, Keto and Co., introduced Sated Ready-to-Drink, a nutritionally complete ketogenic meal-in-a-bottle. The company’s mix-it-yourself version has a been a bestselling keto shake since 2014, and customers have been consistently asking for a ready-to-drink option, according to the company. In August 2018, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to make Sated Ready-to-Drink a reality. That campaign raised more than $200K during prelaunch, making it the 4th largest food product Kickstarter at the time. Sated Ready-to-Drink is available in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors. 

The 11-ounce shelf-stable packages are enhanced 27 essential vitamins and minerals, prebiotic fiber for gut health, 18 grams of protein from milk protein isolate and essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The drink is naturally sweetened with a blend of monk fruit, fiber and erythritol to prevent spikes in blood sugar, says the company. 

got keto? Now’s the time. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Prioritizing Dairy Proteins


Plant proteins continue to dominate today’s food conversation, with lab-grown proteins and even insect proteins getting their fair share of headlines. Dairy protein suppliers have been working together for the past two years to communicate the power of dairy proteins. And it is working. 

The dairy protein industry has joined forces to communicate the many years of research supporting the nutritional superiority and health benefits of milk proteins. It is a marketing effort to assist consumers with making smart protein choices based on their dietary needs. That is because all proteins are not created equal.

The Dairy Protein Messaging Initiative (DPMI) was introduced to the industry at the ADPI/ABI Annual Conference held May 5 to 7, 2019, in Chicago. The DPMI developed The Strong Inside campaign, which is all about creating a conversation about protein in order to fuel shoppers with science-supported knowledge so they can make their own protein decisions. It’s a positive, consumer-insight driven messaging program that was formed by the American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI), Elmhurst, Ill. It is important to note that ADPI, nor the campaign receives dairy industry “check off dollars” from dairy producers. It is supported by membership of suppliers, associations, trade publications and others in the supply chain. For more information, link HERE.

I highly encourage you to watch this VIDEO about The Strong Inside. The time is right to get this messaging out, especially to younger consumers. 

If you would like to watch the on-demand The Strong Inside webinar, which was held September 10, link HERE

This campaign fills a void. It is designed to reach women, Millenials and Gen Z, many of whom may be less loyal to dairy but do want to increase their protein intake. The message is clear: 

The powerful proteins found inside milk fuel us by providing a unique combination of nutrients found nowhere else; to keep moving to heights we’ve never seen. More than any other protein source, consuming protein from milk is the most natural and simple way to make us stronger from the inside out. Look for products that contain the strong inside proteins: whey, casein, protein from milk concentrates and milk powders.

Today’s consumers seek out “grams of protein” on product labels, yet few understand that all proteins are not created equal, or much less read ingredient labels to understand the source or type. The campaign is designed to inform consumers and change this behavior, to make sure consumers understand and seek quality proteins in the products they consume daily, be they fortified products or whole foods.

The campaign hopes to raise awareness about protein quality. Proteins vary in their individual amino acid composition and their level of amino acid bioactivity, among other attributes. Products that carry a “good source of protein” claim must provide more than 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of protein per serving, while those making an “excellent source of protein” claim must contain more than 20% DV. That does not simply translate to 5 grams and 10 grams of protein per serving. It’s 5 grams and 10 grams of “high-quality” protein. 

That’s because the Percent Daily Value for protein is determined using the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), which is an adjustment for the quality of the protein. It is based on the types and amounts of amino acids in the food as well as the overall digestibility. The PDCAAS values range from 0.0 to 1.0, where values are truncated to a maximum score of 1.00, which cows milk, casein, whey, eggs and soy protein all possess. Most plant protein sources have much lower values. Thus, a yogurt beverage containing 10 grams of milk protein may make an “excellent source of protein” claim. A cultured vegan product with 10 grams of protein from pulses or grains most likely only qualifies for a “good source of protein” claim. When making or implying any protein content claim, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires the inclusion of the %DV to support the protein claim. 

From a functional perspective, dairy and plant proteins vary, too. This includes water binding capacity, viscosity, heat stability and gel strength. There are also flavor differences, with plant proteins often described as beany, earthy and sour, while dairy proteins are described as milky, soapy and sweet. It is much more challenging to make a product with only plant-based proteins. The inclusion of dairy improves taste, appearance and even mouthfeel.

Cows milk contains two types of proteins: casein and whey. Casein remains in the curd during cheesemaking while whey is washed away in the liquid stream after curd draining. Both are considered high-quality proteins. Their primary difference is in how they are digested. Whey proteins are digested much faster than casein proteins, which is why having both in a food makes sense for short- and long-term satiation. 

For those trying to lose or maintain weight, calorie for calorie, research shows that dairy proteins can help people feel fuller longer than carbohydrates or fats. Further, reduced-calorie, higher-protein diets may improve the quality of weight loss by helping one lose more fat and maintain more lean muscle. When exercise is part of the equation, there’s more lean muscle development. And, after exercise, whey proteins help build and repair muscle.

Source: American Dairy Products Institute

How are they made into dried ingredients? The process is quite simple. It is essentially just filtration and pressure, which is unlike the process required to make most alternative proteins. The extraction of proteins from milk does not require the addition of artificial chemicals or harsh treatments.

The appeal of milk proteins is so strong that developers of all types of foods and beverages are including isolated and concentrated varieties in product formulations. All types of dairy foods can benefit from a boost of dairy proteins.

To learn more about the many varied dairy proteins, link HERE.

Here are some recent dairy innovations enhanced with dairy proteins. 

Lactalis Nestle Chilled Dairy now offers Nestle Lindahls PRO in the U.K., a new range of high-protein products specifically designed for regular gym-goers. It comes in two flavored pots and two ready-to-drink bottles. Nestle Lindahls PRO delivers a unique 50:50 mix of whey protein and casein protein, which may help to maintain the delicate balance between protein synthesis and the prevention of protein breakdown in the body, according to the company. Each Nestlé Lindahls PRO pot, available in Strawberry & Lime Pie and Lemon Cheesecake flavors, has a soft and creamy texture, is fat free, low in sugar and packed with 18 grams of protein. The Nestlé Lindahls PRO drinks, available in Raspberry & Vanilla and Tropical flavors, are low in fat and high in protein (23 grams in each serving).

Danone North America is rolling out Oikos Pro Fuel. Each 10-ounce bottle contains 25 grams of protein to help build muscle and 100 milligrams of caffeine to help focus. The beverage is based on nonfat milk, whey protein concentrate and coffeefruit extract. 

In Australia, Danone markets YoPRO Nut Protein Bars, which are designed to provide health-conscious and active Aussies with an alternative, on-the-go and post-workout recovery option. One bar provides 20 grams of protein, no added sugars, as well as no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. The bars include an advanced protein blend that combines nuts, peanut butter, soy, collagen and yogurt powder.

It also contains corn fiber, delivering 10 grams per bar. The bars are sold in the refrigerated dairy case and made their debut in three varieties. They are: Apple Cinnamon, Mixed Berry and Salted Caramel

Re:THINK Ice Cream seeks to balance living a healthy lifestyle with the great taste and texture of an authentic, all-natural ice cream experience. In honor of the company’s first anniversary and to celebrate July’s National Ice Cream Month, the Napa Valley-based brand did a reboot with new packaging and a reformulation that now includes collagen and lactose-free A2/A2 dairy. This tummy-friendly dairy ice cream is completely lactose and A1 protein-free, both of which are needed to avoid digestive discomfort in millions of consumers who respond adversely to dairy, according to the company. 

Collagen is the other extra. As one of the hottest supplements on the market today, collagen has many health benefits, such as improved skin elasticity, stronger hair and nails, and boosted metabolism, according to the company. Comparable to the original recipe, Re:THINK Ice Cream continues to be diabetic and keto-friendly, gluten-free, and only feature all-natural ingredients, including whey protein isolate, and no sugar alcohols on their ingredient label. 

Re:THINK Ice Cream’s twelve unique flavors are: Almond with Chocolate Flakes, Black Cherry Vanilla, Cardamom Pistachio, Chocolate Orange with Almond Butter, Chocolate Majesty, Coconut Matcha, Coffee Hazelnut, Lemon with Poppy Seed, Mint with Chocolate Flakes, Strawberry with Chia Seed, Turmeric Ginger and Vanilla Supreme.

Malaysia’s Lushprotein developed Calli, a name that is short for low calorie, which is how this new brand of high-protein, low-fat, low-sugar ice cream is marketed. Calli made its debut in four flavors--Chocolate, Durian, Earl Grey and Salted Caramel—and has since grown to include Peanut Butter Chocolate and Vanilla. All are made using natural ingredients, such as Belgian cocoa powder, tea steeped overnight and D24 durian pulp. A serving contains about one-third the calories of premium ice cream, with each pint containing under 400 calories and 40 grams of protein.

Dairy ingredients—skimmed milk powder, milk protein concentrate and/or whey protein concentrate—are used along with erythritol and inulin, to achieve the low-calorie, high-protein composition. 

Verde Campo markets high-protein Jabuticaba Natural Whey drink in Brazil. Natural Whey is made with skimmed pasteurized milk, whey protein concentrate, lactase enzyme, pectin stabilizer, natural aroma and stevia. It is 100% natural, lactose free and contains no added sugars. The drink comes in 250-gram and 500-gram bottles in flavors such as Banana, Coconut, Cookies and Cream, Peanut Butter, Strawberry, Vanilla and Jabuticaba. Jabuticaba is a typical Brazilian berry that grows on the Plinia cauliflora tree. It has a very dark purple peel, white pulp and a unique sweet flavor. A 250-gram bottle of jabuticaba-flavored Natural Whey contains 14 grams of protein, with 60% being whey proteins and 40% casein. Verde Campo is a Brazilian dairy that was acquired by the Coca-Cola Company in 2016.

Earlier this year, Pro Rich Nutrition LLC introduced high-protein frozen dessert tubes. Free of artificial ingredients and made with numerous organic ingredients, the 85-gram frozen tubes are loaded with protein, probiotics, prebiotics, and 26 vitamins and minerals. Sold in boxes of three tubes, the frozen dessert comes in five varieties, all of which contain cocoa protein nuggets made with whey protein concentrate and isolate. Varieties are Chocolate, Coffee Caramel (Rocket Launch), Mint, Strawberry and Vanilla (Jo Jo’s Original). One tube contains 130 to 150 calories, 4 to 5 grams of fat, 10 to 11 grams of protein, 5 to 9 grams of added sugars and 3 grams of fiber. Protein content gets boosted from the cocoa nuggets and milk protein concentrate. Organic agave inulin and organic monkfruit help keep added sugars in check.

Heartland Food Products Group is rolling out Splenda Diabetes Care Shakes, which claims to be the first and only no-added-sugar shakes specifically designed to help manage blood sugar and support the needs of people with diabetes and prediabetes. The smooth, creamy shelf-stable 8-ounce shakes are packed with 16 grams of high-quality protein (micro-filtered milk protein) and key ingredients necessary for diabetes management, including slow-digesting carbohydrates (short-chain fructooligosaccharides) and good-for-you fats (canola oil), a combination that helps control blood sugar and reduce blood sugar spikes, according to the company. As the product name suggests, it is sweetened with Splenda sucralose, as well as allulose. One bottle contains 170 calories, 9 grams of fat and 6 grams of fiber. The beverage is soy- and gluten-free, and suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals. It comes in three flavors: French Vanilla, Milk Chocolate and Strawberry Banana.

Fairlife entered the ice cream category this summer. Non-fat ultrafiltered milk is the first ingredient, followed by cream. Whey protein and egg yolk give the ice cream a protein boost, providing 9 grams per two-thirds cup serving, or 23 grams per container. It’s sweetened with cane sugar, allulose and monkfruit extract, allowing for a “40% less sugar than traditional ice cream” claim. It does not contain sugar alcohols and lactase enzyme allows for a lactose-free claim. The light ice cream gets an additional nutrition boost with the addition of corn fiber, providing 3 grams per serving. There are seven flavors. They are: Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies & Cream, Double Fudge Brownie, Java Chip, Mint Chip and Vanilla. A serving contains 140 to 190 calories, and 6 to 11 grams of fat, depending on flavor.

DD&B Solutions recently introduced Inotea Bubble Tea lattes. The shelf-stable canned milk teas are made with either brewed black tea or matcha green tea powder and whole milk powder. For the boba spin, they include tapioca pearls, an innovation in the ready-to-drink tea space. The drinks come in 16.6-ounce cans in four varieties. They are: Brown Sugar, Honeydew, Matcha Green and Taro. A can contains 260 calories, 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 42 grams of sugar, of which 35 grams are added sugars.

Iconic Protein now offers Iconic Kids, the only kid-focused line of ready-to-drink products on the market with zero grams of sugar and one full serving of organic greens. The initial flavors are: Chocolate Carnival, Fruity Fiesta and Vanilla Vacay. Each serving provides 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Ingredients include grass-fed milk protein isolate, prebiotic chicory root fiber and a greens blend consisting of kale, broccoli and spinach. The drink is sweetened with stevia leaf and monkfruit extract. The shelf-stable drinks come in 8-ounce prisma packs and retail for $2.29 to $2.49 each, and $26.99 to $29.99 for 12-packs cases.

Idaho Milk Products to Feature Formulating with Milk Proteins Webinar Series
Idaho Milk Products will be offering several online webcasts regarding formulating with milk proteins and overcoming common challenges and obstacles. Some of the topics will focus on the best practices for hydration and dispersion, ready-to-drink solubility and shelf-life testing, protein-fortified dry mixes, protein bars and cereals (including extrusions), protein quality comparisons, maximizing milk protein concentrate quality and functionality, and protein-enhanced ice cream. This new webinar series will offer formulators and others the opportunity to expand and enhance their knowledge of working with proteins to obtain the highest quality products available.

Guest speakers will include Dr. Lloyd Metzger, Professor and Alfred Chair in Dairy Education at South Dakota State University, Dr. David Clark B.Sc., Ph.D., MRSC, CChem and Member of the ADPI Center of Excellence, and Philip Connolly, owner of Commercial Proteins Corporation.

The first 30-minute webinar titled “Improving the Shelf-life of Ready-to-Drink, High-Protein Ultra-High Temperature Beverages” will be cast on October 7, 2020, and be done in partnership with the Institute of Food Technologists. If you are interested in participating, link HERE.

Source: American Dairy Products Institute

“While we are quickly learning to shift from in-person meetings and conferences to virtual platforms, we are thrilled to offer a brand new and exciting webinar series,” says Corinne Barry, sales manager for Idaho Milk Products. “This series of technical discussions will include valuable insights into the formulation and processing of high-protein nutritional products, addressing challenges and areas of opportunity for our customers and those in the food community using milk proteins in their products. Our diverse group of technical experts is ready to tackle any challenge ranging from basic product questions to complex formulation concepts and ideas.”

Ron Hayes, marketing manager, adds, “As the Covid-19 pandemic spread, live events began shutting down, affecting our ability to meet with a large number of people in one place over a short period. We wanted to find a way to help our customers gain knowledge about formulating with proteins that would provide opportunities for making better products. We devised a series of online seminars that will cover a variety of topics in this realm and we are excited to share our knowledge and expertise.”

Each webinar in the series will be free for all attendees. Currently, there are nine topics planned and more may be added, depending on the interest expressed. If you are interested in participating, link HERE.

Dairy Products Utilization and Production Trends
The American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) recently released for purchase the results of its annual Dairy Products Utilization and Production Trends survey. Each year, ADPI collects market data from its members and other dairy industry participants on ways in which the milk-based and whey-based dairy ingredients they distribute are utilized. Ingredients highlighted include milk powders, condensed milks, whey products and lactose ingredients.

“Understanding the global market for dairy ingredients--the production and utilization trends as well as changing export numbers--is crucial for developing a successful marketing strategy to increase the world-wide use of these nutritious and functional products,” says Steve Griffin, ADPI Director of Finance and Administration and editor of the publication. 

For a quick glance at the content, link HERE.

For more information on obtaining a copy, link HERE

Friday, September 4, 2020

Five COVID-19 Behaviors with Long-Term Implications for the Food and Beverage Industry


It’s the end of summer, a strange summer at that. I don’t want to use the cliché “new norm,” but let’s face it, life and business is different. It will continue to be different, according to most food, beverage and consumer behavior analysts. 

As a new empty nester, I have time, lots of time. I am partaking in many webinars and identifying the similarities in messaging. From what I have heard—and observed—there are five COVID-19 (consumer and manufacturer) behaviors that will have long-term implications for the food and beverage industry. 

Here they are.

1. Product developers and manufacturers must rely on their suppliers and co-packers more than ever before. Without trade shows, it’s paramount that ingredient suppliers get new concepts in front of manufacturers in new ways. It might be a catalog of concepts, with or without an accompanying tasting box. It might be a webinar, again, with or without a tasting box. But I highly recommend that box, as eating and drinking is very much about the experience. 

The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network (CFBN) brought that experience to its members on August 27, when the nonprofit hosted a virtual trends and innovations event, which included a tasting box delivered to your door. I wrote about the webinar for Food Business News. You can read more HERE.

The interactive live event was designed to not only assist food industry professionals in Chicago, but members around the country, even beyond U.S. borders. Attendees were able to dive into the trends and insights that are shaping food today with a look to where “taste” is headed in the future, according to Alan Reed, executive director of CFBN, the region’s food and beverage cluster organization. 

Kelley Fechner, director of customer solutions for Datassential, explored the nine trends taking place in foodservice, which while many have been put on hold by chefs, consumer interest in them continues. Food and beverage manufacturers have the opportunity to tap into them for retail innovations. Read more HERE.

At this time, innovators are tapping into co-packers more than ever before, as many have the knowledge and expertise to assist with everything from scaleup to ingredient sourcing to distribution.  They also have the processing, packaging and warehousing capacity, which means the innovator reduces capital investment. This assists with cash flow, freeing up dollars for marketing efforts to build brand awareness.

“Everybody’s projections are off right now,” says William Madden, co-founder and senior partner of Whole Brain Consulting, a company that assists innovators with finding and working with copackers, among other efforts. “Don’t be the brand who holds up the line. Holding up production long enough will put your relationship with the co-packer on the line. Being proactive in these uncertain times means having several backup suppliers for rare raw ingredients and buying more of those ingredients than needed if you can safely store it in a warehouse near your co-packer. Don’t be the brand who goes out of stock because you didn’t protect your supply chain.”

Co-packers are experts at what they do. This frees up man power and brain time, reducing energy spent on learning the process and troubleshooting common production issues. But don’t settle on a handshake. Get your agreement in writing. 

“It’s easy to dismiss formalities in this crazy time, especially if your brand is currently desperate to find a new supplier or co-packer,” says Brandon Hernandez, co-founder of Whole Brain Consulting. “It can be tempting to accept a handshake arrangement and hope for the best, but brand owners need a contract, even if it’s a one-pager, to ensure they don’t get burned.” 

At the very minimum, he says, be sure to get the following documented: What will happen if there’s a recall? Who is responsible if the co-packer makes a mistake?

“After getting that signed, a brand owner needs to start negotiating a real contract, one that accounts for pricing and sourcing of ingredients, run times and warehousing,” says Hernandez. 

Madden, adds, “In this industry, loyalty is power. You may think your relationship with your suppliers is purely business, and as such you can be as rude or polite as you want to be without affecting the relationship, but that’s not the case. In today’s market, when brands are jostling for position on the co-packer lines, those that have good relationships with the suppliers and co-packers are the ones who are getting first service.”

The competition is stiffer than ever, which means you need to be reliable; pay your bills on time; get the co-packer everything they need to run your product and do it professionally and pleasantly; and communicate politely and with gratitude, according to Madden. 

“These are crazy times, no doubt. The entire food industry is trying to figure out what’s going on, what will happen next and how to prepare so they aren’t left behind,” Madden says. “Take a deep breath, be proactive and enlist the help of experts on anything overwhelming that tempts you to bury your head in the sand.”

Before you begin interviewing potential co-packer partners, it is paramount that you identify those criteria that are non-negotiable and those where there’s flexibility. Keep in mind, co-packers vary in capabilities. Decide if you want to source ingredients and packaging, or if you prefer the co-packer do this for possible bulk pricing benefits. 

Remember, if you are prepared and do your homework, it will be easier to identify the best co-packer for your innovation. Your chance of success increases. 

Link HERE to a list of co-packers that specialize in milk and dairy foods manufacturing. 

For more information on having your company included in this list, email me HERE.

The Specialty Foods Association recently held a webinar on a working with co-packers during COVID-19. Link HERE to read a summary. 

2. Consumers are interested in functional foods, foods that do something for you. That was the message from Datassential, as well as The Hartman Group, which held a webinar this week on quantitative and qualitative research conducted in April 2020 on the topic of functional foods, beverages and supplements. The quantitative online survey of 2,367 U.S. adults (aged 18 to 74) was balanced for age within gender, race/ethnicity, income, presence of children under 18 in household and geographic division. The results confirm there’s lots of opportunity in functional foods. 

“It’s very clear that functionality as a concept was something consumers were already interested in prior to the pandemic,” says Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. “What the situation has done, though, is really dial-up the volume on their needs, their aspirations and their behaviors in this space.” 

She says there’s a focus on personal empowerment for all generations; however, there are definite differences by generations, with Gen Z (18 to 22 years old) very interested in some targeted benefits that their functional foods offer. They also are more interested in getting these benefits through beverages rather than foods.

“There’s not very much we can control except for some of the things happening in our particular households,” says Demeritt. “How we spend our time, how we spend our money and what we put into our bodies, what we consume.”

It’s all about taking care of our health through functional products. 

3. There’s a new emphasis on resilience. Individual and collective well-being is severely at risk, underscoring the need for economic, physical and mental resilience, according to The Hartman Group. It’s all about proactive wellness. And while this includes functional foods, it also is about making smarter inherently nutritional food choices. 

Gen Z and Millennials are very interested in inherently functional foods and beverages. This is why if you are marketing to younger consumers, it is so critical to identify specific benefits. 

“Inherent functional foods and beverages do better than fortified functional foods and beverages,” says Demeritt. “That idea of inherent being something that is attributed to natural and less processed and fresher, and all of those other quality cues consumers are thinking about today.” 

With functional foods, energy tops the list of what consumers are looking for in their selection. 

“It’s to assure that the foods you eat are giving you long-lasting energy and not just giving you spikes in energy throughout the day,” says Demeritt. “This is typically aligned with protein.

“Immunity is popping,” she says. “It is number-six on the list, with over two-thirds (67%) of consumers either currently using or interested in using functional foods for immunity.” 

Immunity pops for beverages, as well. More than half (59%) of consumers are looking to beverages for boosting immunity. 

Younger consumers over-index for whey proteins. This makes it an exciting time for dairy proteins. 

I highly encourage you to watch this VIDEO about The Strong Inside. The time is right to get this messaging out, especially to younger consumers. 

Did you know that 68% of Americans want to consume more proteins and that protein content is influencing the purchasing decision of three in five global consumers? The Strong Inside campaign is dedicated to educating consumers about the importance of proteins from milk. Its goals are to drive consumers to consider/select proteins from milk, and increase the connection between health and proteins from milk with key target audiences

If you want to learn more, REGISTER for The Strong Inside webinar this Thursday, September 10th, at 2:00pm EST. (I will be listening.)

4. Reassessment of connectivity is another COVID-19 behavior with long-term implications, according to The Hartman Group. There is a new emphasis on the connectivity of communities in myriad ways. This includes concern about protecting essential workers, caring for vulnerable populations and supporting local businesses.

5. There’s also a surge in call for systematic change, which became very apparent this summer. The Hartman Group says there’s an erosion of consumer trust in both government and large corporations. This was already happening prior to COVID-19. The pandemic simply accelerated the need. Renewed interest in self-empowerment reflects a further questioning of these institutions’ ability to do right by consumers.  

Let’s do our part and do right by consumers!